Senior scholarships and college visits begin


With college application deadlines creeping closer and closer, both the guidance office and the seniors at Cathedral Prep are working harder than ever to solidify their decisions for next year. The guidance office has started making announcements to the entire senior class about both scholarship and college visit opportunities.

Cathedral Prep Guidance Counselor Mrs. Sanner has sent out three different scholarship opportunities in the past week for Gannon University, Mercyhurst University, and Gettysburg College. Cathedral Prep is lucky enough to receive information from colleges similar to these about increases in merit scholarships, and Mrs. Sanner, with the rest of the guidance team, continuously works as hard as she can to give students as many opportunities as possible.

“As seniors, one of the most important tasks you will undertake is applying to college,” Mrs. Sanner said. “As a guidance department, our goal if to help you feel as confident as possible in completing applications and making decisions.”

The guidance counselors went into Theology classes twice during the first week of school to go over all of the steps required for completing a college applications as well as where to find scholarships. In addition to pushing into the classroom, they hosted their annual Senior Parent Information Night and Financial Aid Night during the first week of school.

“We make sure parents are on the same page as the students regarding important tasks and deadlines for senior year,” Mrs. Sanner said. “We also host Amy Sloan from PHEAA to go over everything related to college financial aid. During the first week of October, we hosted our annual FAFSA completion night where seniors and their parents were invited to Prep to receive help from financial aid professions to efficiently complete and submit their FAFSA and PHEAA forms in order to qualify for financial aid.”

In addition to this, in the next week Cathedral Prep will have representatives coming in from Northern Pennsylvania Regional College, Kent State University, Xavier University, Canisius College, Mercyhurst University, Case Western Reserve University, and Youngstown State University. These representatives will give a presentation to students showing what their college is all about, and Mrs. Sanner believes that these presentations are a great way for students to put themselves out there.

“I encourage seniors participate in in-house and college campus visits,” Mrs. Sanner said. “Ask questions, meet with department chairs and students in your major of interest, walk the campus, ask about job placement, eat the food, consider the means of travel back home, and think about where you fit in.”

Mrs. Sanner views job shadowing in a similar light to college visits.

“Before you make a decision on the major you will be investing thousands of dollars into, spend a day in the life of a professional in that field,” Mrs. Sanner said.

And, above all, Mrs. Sanner encourages seniors to apply to as many scholarships as possible.

“It is never too early to research and apply for scholarships,” Mrs. Sanner said. “Billions of dollars in scholarship money goes unused each year simply because students aren’t applying. Scholarships are free money. Apply for them now.”

Fellow Guidance Counselor Mr. Sears agrees with Mrs. Sanner, and his best advice to seniors is to ask questions if they need help and to read every email they get sent from guidance.

“There are critical pieces of information, date, deadlines, and materials to help assist in the seemingly overwhelming process of college applications in our emails,” Mr. Sears said. “We want to help each student achieve their goals and aspirations at the collegiate level and not feel like this is an insurmountable process. The entire guidance department is here to help at any stage of the application process.”

Mr. Sears also advises seniors to do as much research on college websites as possible.

“School websites offer the most up to date information such as costs, scholarships, deadlines, test-optional status, admission requirements, how to apply, scheduling tour visits, etc.,” Mr. Sears said. “Most information is ever changing, so don’t assume what you heard from others.”

Mr. Sears and Mrs. Sanner encourage any seniors reading this article to reach out to them if they need any help with college, or life in general.

“This should be an exciting time in your life,” Mrs. Sanner said. “To avoid getting overwhelmed or stressed, ask for help. It’s why we’re here.”